LaRod Stephens-Howling is expected to receive the bulk of the carries at running back for the Arizona Cardinals this week against the Buffalo Bills.
Stephens-Howling, who scored the first touchdown of the season in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, finds himself moving up the depth chart after Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams went down with injuries.
After missing the last two weeks with a hip injury, Stephens-Howling does not seem fazed by the idea of getting more carries and says that past success, like his Week 17 start last season against the Seattle Seahawks, has helped his confidence.
“It’s just a regular work week preparing to get most of the load,” Stephens-Howling said.
The Cardinals currently have the 30th ranked rushing attack in the NFL, but he knows that needs to change.
“We definitely need to get the running game going,” Stephens-Howling said. “It will help out [quarterback Kevin Kolb] and the passing game a lot.”
Stephens-Howling has seldom been the feature back during his NFL career, but Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein thinks the 5-foot-7, 185 Pittsburgh alum is more than just a situational player.
“He is a guy that people might call him a ‘scat back,'” Sendlein said. “But if you ask him, he will tell you he is an every down back and we believe he is.”
Sendlein likes that Stephens-Howling is someone who has been with the team for a while and knows the offense.
“He knows our protections, he knows how to set up
blocks,” Sendlein said. “It is nothing like preparing someone who hasn’t done it before.”
Sunday’s game against the Bills will mark the first time Stephens-Howling sees a significant workload since his confidence building Week 17 game of last year. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt liked what he saw in that game and hopes that the 25-year-old can build off that performance.
“The last time I saw LaRod as a starter, he went for 92 yards against Seattle’s defense,” Whisenhunt said. “I am hopeful that he can get that extra eight yards this week.”